Why “Self-Centered Marketing” Must Die (TODAY)

Clay: Hello everyone, my name is Clay Collins…

James: I’m James Lepine.

Clay: …and in this episode of the Marketing Show, we’re going to be giving you our top marketing song of the week. We’re also going to be telling you the 5 traits of a self-centered – I shouldn’t point to myself. That’s very N-L-P… That’s bad – the 5 traits of a self-centered marketer, but mark my words here. If you are doing any of these, the chances that your company is profitable or that your marketing is working is actually low. So these are the 5 traits actually of not just a self-centered market, but a poor marketer. That’s what you have to look forward to in this episode of the Marketing Show.

Okay, so we’re about to bust out the 5 traits of self-centered poor marketers, but before we do that, what do we want to do James?

James: We want to give a couple shout-outs to folks who commented on last week’s episode, who left an insightful comment, or you know, just complimented us on the job that we’re doing here. We’re totally vain so we’ll take that. So we’re going to give a quick shout-outs to those folks.

Clay: Or people who just were like thinking, had their thinking caps on, said some smart stuff.

James: Right.

Clay: Cool.

James: Here they are.

Hello everyone, it’s that time of week. Oh yes, it’s time for the Marketing Show Shout-Outs. Brian T. Edmondson; Clay Collins. Look familiar? Dolly Garland, a customer of ours. Hello, Dolly. E.A. Wade. That’s my fiancée on the left, Helen Shearer. Katie Walker, that’s my sister. Kerry Traylor, another customer of ours. Leslie Moore; Laurie Connell; Melissa Wood; Mike Kawula and his daughters; Nancy Adcox; Nancy Leigh Demos; Shana Payton; and Tom Shivers.

And now it’s time for The Anons. These are people who don’t have a picture uploaded. We’re going to call them The Anons. Jennifer Connell Askew. Juanita, Ruth One. She is our fist commenter of last week’s episode. Congratulations Juanita. Julian Sweeney, Austin, Tucker, Carol Somebody, Katie Somebody, Donnie Somebody, David Somebody, Rosalea Somebody, Mark Somebody, rutaylor, PK, Libby Flick, Lauren Flick, Buckmark, and finally teresauler.

If you’d like to be featured on next week’s edition of the Marketing Show Shout-outs, you know what to do. Leave a comment in the comment section below, and if you don’t want to be featured in The Anons portion, be sure to leave a link to a picture as well. This has been the Marketing Show Shout-outs.

Examples Of The Biggest Marketing Mistakes, Problems And Blunders

All right Clay, so what is trait one?

Clay: Dude, James, I will get to that in like 30 seconds…

James: Okay.

Clay: …but before I do that, the Marketing Show song of the week. Props to anyone who gets the reference – It’s kind of an obscure copywriting reference in there. If you understand why this is the marketing song of the week, if you get it, you get some kind of prize.

James: Some prize.

Clay: I don’t know what it is.

James: Yeah, we’ll figure it out.

Clay: All right, so like… Wey are clearly professionals.

James: You bet. Oh, nice. He put the shades on. Bonus shades?

Clay: All right.

James: Anyway.

Clay: So trait number one of a self-centered marketer is the inability to say what you do in less than 20 seconds, and this really isn’t about an elevator pitch. This isn’t even about being able to market your product in 20 seconds. This is literally about the inability to actually just say what you do in less than 20 seconds. The other day, I was at this thing with entrepreneurs. The CEO, the president, or the former CEO, the co-founder of Yes to Carrots was there, and when people asked him what he did, he said, “You know what? I’m the co-founder of the United States second largest natural beauty products company.” Right? So just like that, boom! Out of his mouth. He wasn’t like, “Well, we’re kind of was doing this thing, you know,” like oh, we’re kind of our – Like seriously, some people get on like just these tirades…

James: Right.

Clay: …at this point like where – He was just like boom, out of it, or like another guy who was there was the guy who started the geek squad and he’s also the CTO of Best Buy.

He’s going to be leaving soon, but he’s like yeah, I started the geek squad. We’re fast and effective, and really kind of cool branded like electronics repair company that comes to your house like boom, out of his mouth.

But like some people, you ask them what they do, and it’s like you might as well just like go eat dinner and then come back because they’re just going on.

James: Right, they’re just – Yeah.

Clay: But like – You know, like when people ask me what I do generally, I just say, “You know like we have a digital publishing company or we have a marketing training company,” some version of that like I just get it out in a sense, but some people, oh my God.

James: Go on and on and on, yeah.

Clay: So you just want to kill yourself. You want to stab yourself in the eye, right?

James: Right.

Clay: So, you know, another example is Christian, I think Mickelsen, he’s got a company called Coaches to the Clients, like literally, people ask him what he does. He’s like, “Yeah, I show coaches how to get clients, right?” So you just – That’s just one sign right there. It’s just that if you can’t do that, chances are that you are over thinking your marketing, and you’re probably poor. That’s what I’m saying.

James: Uh-huh. You’re probably not getting a lot of work done.

Clay: Right, right. All right James, what’s number two?

James: Number two is you think you’re in a new market or you think that your business is different, right. So this kind of ties back into number one, but it’s this people who are like yeah, well, my business, it kind of post from here, it kind of post from here, and they do this little trick on their desk.

Clay: Yeah, James and I were talking about this, so like these are people that like they’re convinced that they created a new niche or category.

James: Yeah, right.

Clay: And that only happens like once every like it’d happen so infrequently, but like here are the people. Here’s how you know like when you’re talking to one of these people, right. Have you ever talked to one of this people who are like you’re sitting in the table and you’re like oh, you know, like maybe you’re a networking event or something, and they’re like oh, what do you do? And they’re like – They start like rearranging things. They’re like, “Well, what I really do, you know,” and they’ve got to like rearrange stuff in order to explain what they do.

James: Yeah, totally.

Clay: And this is kind of a version of the first one, but like then they start doing like object lessons. Well, we actually, you know, and then we’re thinking out of the box, stuff like that. Those are kind of cheesy, but…

James: But they do that.

Clay: …but they do that kind of…

James: They do.

Clay: …thing. So the chances are you are not in a new market. Chances are… Or if you’re in a new market, it’s because, you know, there’s no one in that market. There’s one person that market into you, and you’re the only one who’s buying that kind of thing.

James: Hit us with number three.

Clay: Okay, so number three is that your products and your business are about what you want to give, not about what others want to buy. So I often say that the active giving is in a lot of ways a self-originating act. None of us here is self-centered, but a self-originating act, and the act of receiving, like the act of marketing, getting paid. You know, making sales is an other-centered act, right. When someone pulls out their credit card, they have desire, that act of getting paid originates outside of you. So when people are so focused on what they have to give often, they completely ignore the fact that there are customers out there that want things, and they want very specific things, and they’re probably not even thinking about what they want in the language that you’re using to describe what you do.

James: Right.

Clay: So, you know, we often talk about the pillow talk test, which Kevin Asians came up with this. It’s really good. It basically goes like this like if you’re not talking in the same language that your audience is using when they described the problem, chances are you’re at a huge disconnect, so like if you have a book called The Five Secrets of, you know, Financial Security, right, like most people don’t stay up at night talking to their loved ones, “You know, I would really love Five Secrets for Financial Security.” They usually say like, “You know what? I’d really like to pay the house off,” or “I’d really love to get out to death.”

So just remember, giving is a self-originating act, but receiving money is not a self-originating act. That is an act that originates outside of you so you need to be other centered. This is really about serving the market. This is about service so you can service yourself or you can service others, so whichever, you know. Just…

James: Choose wisely.

Clay: …choose wisely.

James: Yes.

Clay: But here’s what I want to say. Generally speaking, you know, when it comes to people talking about, you know, the other-centered or self-centered thing, with regards this whole like, you know, asking someone what they do and like they’re completely – Here’s how you know that you’re dealing with one of these people is when you’re dealing with someone who cares a lot more about expressing what they do then they care about like watching or monitoring you, right. So like if you ask me what I do, and you’re completely your eyes are glazed over, right, so a good marketer is constantly like modifying what they’re doing to make sure that I’m engaging your attention, right.

James: Right. So that perk up, and go oh, yeah.

Clay: So chances are, you’re a horrible marketer if you’re not able to read subtle social cues such as the other person being completely bored by what you’re saying.

James: Yeah, totally.

Clay: So if you can’t do that, you’re probably poor, and that’s probably reflected in your marketing, which is concerned with what you have to say, not with actually gaining traction with one’s desires of other people – with you know, if you’re, you know, then – It’s completely divorced and you’re not engaged with one’s desires of other people. Anyway, that object lesson’s over.

James: Thank you. Okay, so trait number four, yeah, trait number four of a self-centered marketer…

Clay: What is it?

James: …is when you care too much about your website looks, and we’ve talked about this idea a little bit before. It’s kind of the idea of obsessing over your logo, obsessing over the look and feel, kind of hovering over, being like a helicopter parent over your designer. “Oh yeah, if you could change this,” and “Actually, let’s go with this picture of me instead.” If you’re doing this, then…

Clay: So chances are, if you’re designer hates you or if you have the subtle sort of opinion…

James: Right.

Clay: …if you are getting the signal that your designer is frustrated with you – Like most designers are reasonable people and they deal with lots of clients. If you are exceptionally difficult to deal with, chances are that you are a self-centered designer that you’re making your websites about – You know, it needs to accomplish more than it really needs to accomplish, and again, it’s about you being obsessed, trying to make everything perfect, you know, you caring more about what you have to say then the person on the other end, they’re not listening desire on them because most people aren’t obsessing about your website like you are.

James: Uh-huh. Yeah, you know, that kind of reminds me of Eugene Schwartz. We talked about him in a previous episode, author of Breakthrough Advertising.

Clay: His stuff is like a brick to the head.

James: It’s amazing.

Clay: Yeah, it’s amazing.

James: Yeah, you have to read it. If you’re interested in marketing you have to read that book. Anyway, he talks about how you can’t create desire with your copy.

Narrator: I bet you folks don’t have one of these.

Female: I want that.

James: You can harness, you can channel existing desire.

Clay: You can amp it up.

James: You can amp it up, but you can’t create it out of thin air, so while you’re all worried about, you know, getting your website perfect to create some kind of desire in people, just forget about it. It’s not going to happen.

Clay: Yup.

James: Okay, so we have one more to go, trait number five.

Clay: Trait number five of the self-centered marketer is that they spotlight their self on the website. So when you have a website, you can – or just any kind of marketing materials, you can focus. You can shine the light on one of three things: one, you can shine the light on you, right, like it’s all about me on the website.

James: Right.

Clay: Your face is everywhere. People who are in this camp like…

James: They do this kind of pictures, you know.

Clay: Right. So people in this camp are usually like showcasing like the guru that they studied under. They’ve got like a long string of initials. There’s got a picture of them like in the lab coat or something like that.

James: Their about page is in third person.

Clay: Right. They’re like James Lepine studied that, you know.

James: Right.

Clay: And they wrote it, you know.

James: Yeah, yeah, totally.

Clay: Okay. So you neither shine light on the first category, which is you. Second, you can shine the light on your product. So these are the people where they’ve got huge displays of like the 200 CDs that come with it in a big booklet, so they’re like we had these amazing graphics design, and just like see all the stuff there is, right. So they’re shining the spotlight on how great their product is. They think that you’re buying the product because the product is cool, not because you have an intense desire to get something very real in your life handled.

James: Right, right, right.

Clay: And the third category is that you can shine the light on your customer’s wants. So you’re shining the light on their wants, and not wants generically, right, not their wants like let’s say we’re life coaches, okay.

James: Okay.

Clay: So like, you know, we’re going to help you accomplish your big goals for 2012, right. You wouldn’t say that kind of thing because it requires people to fill in the blanks, right.

James: What are my goals?

Clay: So we’ve said this before like if you’ve got, if you’re writing a travel book like you wouldn’t say the ultimate travel guide to that place you’ve wanted to go for the last year, you know, or to like your dream location, right. Another example if you’re creating a cookbook. You wouldn’t say like how to cook your favorite meals that you’ve always wanted to learn how to like you’d say no, like here’s a guy to Portugal, right. Here’s the guy to make Italian food. You wouldn’t say, you know, like it’s not like MadLibs. Your marketing shouldn’t be MadLibs where people have to like fill in this stuff, like you got to say like you’ve got to focus on the outcome that you can create make your market one, so like I’ll help you – You know, say six or eight years by retirement like I’ll help you – You know, I’ll help you go to Portugal. I’ll help you get fit before your wedding, and you know, get below a certain percentage body fat or like whatever your target market ones, that’s what you’re shining the light on; the people who make it about them, right, first and then secondarily, the product, and then third, the actual wants and needs of their customers. Those are the people who tend to do very poorly, poorly, terribly with their marketing.

James: Okay, so let’s think about this – Do we have time for an example for you guys out there?

Clay: Well, I don’t know. Sure.

James: All right. So let’s think about this if you have a shovel. Let’s take a shovel, and you can either choose to focus on the fact that you’ve studied under the top shoveler in the world. You’ve dug a million holes in your lifetime and really just highlight all the great things about you, or you can highlight your shovel and go this is the best shovel in the world. This wood was made from acacia trees, and it’s the nicest, you know, wood possible. There’s steel…

Clay: Acacia trees.

James: Is that even a kind of tree?

Clay: I don’t know.

James: Okay, acacia wood. Anyway, so you can come up with – and you can just describe the shovel for days and days. Here’s why the shovel is amazing. Or you can say, “If you buy this shovel you can dig a hole and create trees or plant trees in your backyard,” and you can focus on them.

Clay: Right. People want to buy a hole, not a shovel.

James: Yup, so sell them the hole.

Clay: Okay, anyway, you know, just to conclude here, you know, if we drive anything home here, it’s that when you focus on yourself, when you do self-originating marketing, the chances of you making sales, being profitable, and doing very well is very low. When you spend the bulk of your time getting outside of yourself and folk seeing on the needs of others, not being self-centered, and really monitoring how people are reacting to your marketing, you know, you’re going to do well.

Anyway, thank you so much for watching the Marketing Show. We appreciate your comments, your feedback, your shares. We appreciate all you do. My name is Clay Collins.

James: I’m James Lepine.

Clay: And if you’re an entrepreneur, we’ve got your back when it comes to marketing. We’ll talk to you next week.

  • When carefully listening experts like You Clay, Nick Holland, Steve, Simon Sinek… one thing is mutual: “why you do it” is selling products/services and not “what you do”. And in today show you pointed out exactly this. Tnx for smart tips and tricks. When my head is overload… I listen you, to clear my thoughts, and direct them in my direction 😉        

    • That’s one of the best compliments you could give us.  Thanks Simon.

  • I’m posting this comment simply to be included in the next Marketing Show shout-outs. James, you should now have access to a better picture of me. Please also refer to me as a cult member, instead of customer.

    • jameslepine

      Gotcha covered, Cult Member Marshall 🙂

  • I think the trades #1 and #3 are very important, because they show a big problem in the business or in how the owner perceive his own business.
    Talking about #1, I can say that if you can’t even describe what you or your business do, that can only happen because you don’t know enough about the business or your business is not focused enough, in both cases we have big trouble.
    In trade #3 we have a similar problem, maybe a worst problem, because we are probably investing time and money in a product that we want, but maybe is not what the market want.
    Again, great episode and great advice guys, thanks.
    Gave a nice day.

  • #5 is brilliant! I need to drop everything and go rewrite my website. (And maybe tweak the logo just a little while I’m at it …)

    • Cool.  I like how your website does focus on your target demographic and their needs.  Also, I think I know who’s business model you’ve been inspired by 🙂

  • RosvitaRauch

    Yup, off to revamp my website. And to figure out why a photo doesn’t come up….not that I’m self-centered, or anything;-)

  • Mail

    Shout outs are long get to business guys…peace.

    • jameslepine

      I hear ya!  They will be much shorter next week… thanks for the feedback!

  • CoryMichelle

    Thank you!  This was exactly what I needed to hear as I reword the copy on my website.  

  • Mike

    I liked the shout outs at first, but to give them to anons??? Now it’s too obvious that they are done as a marketing tactic, since everyone likes seeing their name up and will more likely show others. 

    Marshall, this show was all about self-centered marketing and the only reason you posted was to get on the shouts outs? 

    Good episode guys, marketing many times is ego driven. Your content is great and so many people need to take your advice 

    • jameslepine

      Hey Mike – I hear ya! We’ve decided that The Anon section has got to go… which means you won’t be featured in it next week 🙂  And thanks so much for your kind words… those mean a lot to us, seriously.  

    • Mike: It’s called situational irony. 😉

  • Tdubld

    WOW!!  The Somebody family is really big…didn’t realize there were so many!

    • Totally.  It’s the second most popular last name in the world.

  •  Absolutely hysterical episode.  I think I’ve met every single one of these people at seminars I’ve attended!


    • Damn.  It’s a small world.  Glad you liked the episode, Brian.  And thanks for being part of this community.

  • Great show Clay! You should call this episode “Clueless Marketing…”

    • Travis!! Great to see you here. We should talk soon.  I think you might have some insights on this: http://www.leadbrite.com/announcing-next-chapter-of-business/

  • As a designer, I just want to say thank you for pointing out the micro-managing your designer issue. Seriously. Thank you.

    • You’re welcome, Naomi!  I imagine it must be a huge issue.

  • Thanks for the reminder fellas!  I remember when we started out over 10 years ago, we did a lot of this marketing and the balance in our bank account proved it. 🙂  We learned the hard way.

    Love the glazed eyes comment…so true!!!

    I do have one question about issue #4…At least I think it was four. I am reading Steve Jobs biography and in it it explains how much Jobs knit picked every little thing until it was exactly the way he wanted. I mean everything, if you guys haven’t read it. I am pretty sure his designers hated him 🙂 But was he just a freak??? I am not like that, however reading his book has made me think maybe I should be more like that. Thoughts?

  • Hi guys, I loved this episode, one of my favorite things about your show is how much fun you two have recording it! I’m still struggling with writing compelling copy. I could really use some help with that. Next episode?

    • Sure!  Maybe in a month or so.  But we’ll do our best to cover that.  Thanks for the request!

  • Jaxi West

    I thought I had an idea of what direction this video was going to go, but I was wrong. So it was a cool surprise what you ended up pointing out. Lots of super tips. I never thought of the website that way – to focus it more on the client/customer vs you. That was the best tip of all!

  • AngelaMYan

    Some good points there guys….however, some thoughts: did you mean ‘self centered’ marketing as in ‘arrogant’ or just simply centered on self, which is borne of insecurity? I ask this because the terms ‘self centered’ has negative connotations attached to it, I’m guessing most people think of ‘self centered’ as arrogant.

    In point # 1: I’m inclined to think that if someone cannot explain their business in a few short concise sentences – then perhaps they are just not very articulate, not necessarily self centered/arrogant.

    Many people want to come across as an ‘expert’, etc, & so they
    center on ‘me me me’ marketing, ‘cos they think this is what they need
    to do. This does not necessarily mean they are arrogant – you could say
    it’s more insecure.

    You could say that it’s ‘insecure’ marketing. When you are insecure you are focussed on self, so in that regard it’s ‘self centered’.

    Phew!! Enough of my ranting. Hope you get what I mean though?

    • I totally get what you mean.  Excellent points.  Perhaps the focus on self has more to do with insecurity and inarticulateness than anything else.  And I’ve certainly been there myself.  Thanks for the insight.

  • Larry Taylor

    Great episode guys. I’m just putting together a web site so this is very timely, helpful info. I shall resist the overwhelming urge to micro-manage my designer and copywriter. I’m sure they thank you in advance. Actually, I think I tend to stand back too much and trust them to totally do whatever they think is good. This makes me realize I need to find a middle ground and perhaps take a little control. 

    Oh, and I just dumped my ‘cool dude’ look photo before I posted here. Thanks.

  • Clay, so I guess that whole new wave of marketing messaging centered around being a more soulful authentic in your business (that I keep hearing more about) …could cross over into the self-centered bad marketer example too. ha! I agree, thanks for pointing out that crossing the line into obsession and micro-managing over small details is not the best use of an entrepreneurs time.

  • Awesome Show Again. Our Social marketing was exactly this video 6 months ago.  It didn’t start changing for the positive until we got its all about our customers. Now we’re working on each of our landing pages.  On a side note just started using this Beta Company Unroll.me which helps manage emails to help manage inboxes. Pretty cool but lumped this into my one weekly email of subscriptions……NOT GOOD. I’ll have to figure out how to manage that part.  Learned about it from  Sprouter (which was lumped in also…yikes)  Great Show and both daughters gave thumbs up  as they love the light up glasses, now they want a pair!

    • They want a pair? Nice.  We’ll hook them up with some Marketing Show SWAG in about a month.  Watch this space.  Thanks for being awesome, Mike.

  • Wow this video came in such a good time since I’m looking at creating something and this video just nailed it on Focusing on audience and not yourself and figuring their needs and not just what you think you want to give them is what they want! It was all really good stuff! Great info being the first timer on your site thanks guys!

    • Welcome, Boris.  I’m glad you enjoyed your first visit here. Come back now!

  • Great work guys, however i believe that if you need 20 seconds to tell others what you do, i will fall asleep, you need to do that in one sentence or you are not that focused as you should.


  • Lise Halskov

    Great stuff, guys! I was giggling when you mentioned people who write their about page in third person – it’s definitely not cool! Thanks!

  • Nice work Clay and James, thanks for bringing the cold hard truth to these issues and highlighting some very simple and obvious do’s and don’ts. Now I need to go update my website 🙂